Amina's Song: Amina's Voice, Book 2
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hena Khan's Amina's Song is a sequel to Amina's Voice. Amina, her parents, and older brother, Mustafa, have spent part of the summer visiting relatives in Pakistan. Amina has loved her visit and is eager to share everything wonderful about Pakistan when she returns home to Wisconsin to start seventh grade. But even her best friends Soojin, Rabiya, and Emily don't seem interested. When she chooses Malala Yousafzai for a history class project, she hopes Malala's story will show her classmates the strength and determination of Pakistani girls, but they come away seeing Pakistan only as a violent place. Confused and saddened, she begins to put her feelings into song lyrics. Violence includes a mention of how Malala was shot by the Taliban and references to an event from Amina's Voice in which a fire destroyed parts of Amina's mosque and the Islamic Center was vandalized.
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What's the Story?
AMINA'S SONG begins in Lahore, Pakistan. Amina, her parents, and 16-year-old brother are visiting relatives, and the visit has been a mixture of fun and frustration for the about to be seventh-grader. She may be a Pakistani American girl on the outside, but she doesn't know how to speak Urdu or understand her relatives' sense of humor and feels a bit like an imposter around them. Amina has loved the weeks she's spent in Lahore and is eager to share the experience (and the hundreds of photos and dozens of videos she's taken) with her friends back home in Wisconsin. But even her very best friends, Soojin, Emily, and Rabiya, don't seem all that interested. When she announces her decision to chose Malala Yousafzai for her Living Wax Museum project, she finds some of her classmates now see Pakistan only as a dangerous place to be an outspoken girl. Confused and saddened by their reactions, Amina tries to sort out her feelings by writing song lyrics. Lyrics that remain only on paper until she meets a Nico, a new boy at school, who offers to make a recording of her song. Seventh grade for Amina is also about volunteering with a refugee resettlement project at her Islamic Center, serving as campaign manager of Soojin's run for class president, having ongoing conversations with her mother about what is or is not appropriate clothing, and telling everyone (again and again) that she and Nico are just friends.
Is It Any Good?
This charming multicultural story is all about inspiring kids to speak up, be proud of who they are, take time to help others, and discover their own unique voices. The characters in Amina's Song are of diverse heritages (Korean, Pakistani, Egyptian/French), but they're all trying to navigate challenges that will be familiar to almost any young reader: figuring out how to fit in, being absolutely terrified to speak in front of a class, making the right decision about what to wear to a school dance, being a new kid in school, and watching (somewhat fearfully) as your best friends begin to explore new interests of their own.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about who the characters in Amina's Song chose to portray in their Living Wax Museum projects. Is there a historical figure whose identity you'd like to assume?
What things (food, holidays, traditions) from your family's cultural heritage would you like to share with your friends and classmates?
What volunteer opportunities can kids take part in at your school or in your community? What are the most important lessons you can learn from being a volunteer?
- Author: Hena Khan
- Genre: Friendship
- Topics: Activism, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Middle School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: March 9, 2021
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 288
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 1, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
Amina's Voice, Book 1
Beautiful tale of Pakistani American middle-schooler.
I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World
Inspiring memoir of teen Nobel laureate shot by Taliban.
American Immigration: Our History, Our Stories
Tales of inspiring people, awful racism in nuanced history.
Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices
Lots of great life lessons as families celebrate holiday.
For kids who love stories of middle school and Muslim characters
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